THE GOVERNMENT has opened a new £30 million fund to pay for the costs of installing an alarm system in buildings with unsafe cladding.
Alarms will mean costly waking watches, where people are employed to patrol buildings with dangerous cladding checking for fires, can be replaced.
The fund hopes to avoid the cost of waking watches being passed on to occupants who are leaseholders of dangerously clad high rises.
The fund follows recently updated guidance published by the National Fire Chief’s Council (NFCC) on buildings. This changes the fire safety strategy from a ‘Stay Put’ to a ‘Simultaneous Evacuation’ advice for occupants of buildings with fire-risk cladding.
The government says waking watch, “when established and operated in accordance with NFCC guidance, is an acceptable risk mitigation strategy”, but alarms are preferable because they are safer and more cost efficient.
Swift cladding remediation is priority
The government says, “Swift remediation of unsafe cladding, for which the government has provided £1.6 billion, remains the priority and this fund should not be considered as a substitute.”
The fund will cover the cost of alarms installed on or after 17 December 2020.
Over half of the £30million fund – £16million – is allocated to Greater London. £22 million is allocated to 8 metropolitan areas, leaving £8million for the rest of England.